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  • Laboni Bhattacharya

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I.

Its the kind of smell

you can't decide

if you like or not.

Unidentifiable, inseparable

into ingredients

forgotten as soon as you toe off your shoes.

Lukewarm;

my spirit rubs its back upon the walls

rolling the scent

between skin and cement

now everything smells as it should.

II.

Ah yes, the clouds rub together like thighs

and the sky smells of ozone

Such light(e)ning

tonight.

III.

"Don't miss me, have fun", you say cheerily

and the lump in my throat is instantly huge.

I can't swallow my tears around it.

(I miss you, even when I'm having fun)

I skirt around the walls

hiding

from this hostile, echoing house.

IV.

Why now, after all this time?

Ripping out the air from around me

my skin pimpling with goosebumps;

reality is altered

standing in front of the fridge at 3 a.m

with shards of Just Back Then scattered around us.

V.

Let us give this ghost a home

let it grow its own bones

plant its roots in the soil.

We may as well learn to share a corner of the blanket.

VI.

The strangest feeling of all is when

home leaves

you

behind.

You try and sleep -

Eat the last biscuit, eat a pickle afterward

Distracting yourself from the agony

The dehydrating need to cry.

VII.

I remember bending and bending

the knees of my dolls

so they wouldn't stand so upright

(too hard to make them kiss)

and all that changed

was their frozen smiling faces

smiling now upon crooked legs.

Unsettling -

unearthing them from the suitcase

plunged deep into the foundations of this house.

I watch the corners

out of the corners of my eye.

VIII.

A woman jumped yesterday.

"They just moved into their

new home."

Poor lady.

It was 4 pm, the sky just beginning

to dream of sunset;

it must have been quite lovely

with the

strange new house behind her

demanding to be called home.

No,

she said,

and let go.


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